February 7, 2012
Intelligent, non-cliché Western
I liked this Western a lot. It's not built on clichés and worn-out stereotypes, but shows some imagination and artistry.
For one thing, the music (a couple of songs) isn't standard "songs of the prairie" fare; it's a little like that, but more "glee club" style, almost barbershop harmonies. The group sings a chorus of "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" at one point. The closing music is more "30's jazz band" style.
The movie has nice touches like this one: at one point, the heroine knocks the heel of her boot loose. She asks the hero, "Sim," if he can fix it. He takes her foot between his legs from behind, exactly as if he were shoeing a horse! (Well, it's what he's used to, so he naturally does it that way.) The heroine finds it comical, and obviously, endearing. She's starting to love him, but we could all see that coming, right?
(I disapprove of showing him hammering with his pistol, though.)
There are other realistic touches -- like in one place, where Sim takes out after the villains, shooting his rifle. I've seen so many movies where people blast away at each other from hundred of yards, with their six-shooters; it's nice to see one movie that recognizes that the rifle is the tool for the job.
The final fist-fight is pretty realistic; neither man is a pugilist, and they flail away at each other, with Sim being seen to miss with at least a couple of swings.
But the bad guy loses, Sim avenges his friend, and then he and the heroine become an item. That was inevitable, but it's really very sweet and charming the way it's portrayed. And the very last little touch, what she does with her feet, is pretty cute too. (No spoiler, I!)
August 17, 2011
One Of Buck's Best Columbia Pictures
Buck Jones is quite at home in talkies, after several years as a top silent star. This, his second sound picture, is also one of his best. He's a drifter out to get revenge for the murder of his long time partner, Ranney (Frank Rice). Complications arise. Then the ultimate showdown. This very early sound picture has not only excellant sound, but superior film quality as well. Give Harry Cohn his due on this one. It is a little slow getting started, but that's a minor quibble. Enjoy.